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Opinion
Mark Gilbert

The Robots Are Coming for Fund Management Jobs

Japan’s GPIF is harnessing artificial intelligence to help oversee its $1.6 trillion of assets.

Chomping at the bit.

Chomping at the bit.

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Remember Aibo, the computerized dog Sony Corp. started selling in 1999 as the first personal robot? Hiro Mizuno, the chief investment officer of Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, does. So he asked Sony’s computer science lab unit to build him a cyberhound using artificial intelligence to help oversee the external fund managers who manage GPIF’s $1.6 trillion in assets.

If the training program succeeds, the software watchdog could catch investors who are straying from their comfort zones, help screen potential portfolio managers based on their previous track records, and even distinguish between luck and skill in generating returns. But there’s a catch — and it’s a big one that’s not unique to this particular use of AI.